It would have been easy for Brandon Kintzler to quit at anytime during his career in major league baseball. His map to the big leagues is anything but typical. After being drafted in the 40th round by the San Diego Padres, he began his long and painful journey to the big leagues hitting many road bumps along the way.
His first trouble came during the 2006 season. After three successful minor league seasons in the Padres organization, Kintzler dealt with a torn rotator cuff. This injury caused him to miss the entire season and also lose his spot in the organization. His track to the big leagues became a giant question mark.
After being released, Kintzler pitched two seasons in the Independent league. Many times when players begin playing in this league their careers are over, but Kintlzer did not quit. He pitched well enough during this time to impress scouts in Milwaukee to sign him to a minor league contract during the 2009 season.
While pitching in the minor leagues, Kintzler continued to impress. He was one of the better pitchers in the system during the 2010 season, recording 16 saves through two levels while posting a 1.47 ERA in 42 appearances. This great work finally earned a big league call up at the end of the season.
But in 2011 injuries struck again. After pitching in nine games with the Brewers, Kintzler needed a screw inserted in his arm to take care of a stress fracture. This devastating injury caused him to miss much of the 2011 season. The following season he was sent back to the minor leagues and needed to prove himself yet again. In 45 appearances, Kintzler showed that he was still the same pitcher before his injury by showing off his impressive command and keeping his ERA low.
Finally, in 2013 Kintzler became a permanent fixture in the Brewers bullpen. He not only pitched in 71 games, but he was one of the most reliable arms. Kintzler kept his walks down and was able to record the lowest WHIP (walks-hits per innings pitched) of his career.
While it was not the most conventional way to the major leagues, Kintzler has become one of Ron Roenicke’s most trusted arms. After the Brewers first six games of 2014, Kintzler has pitched in four scoreless outings. While it was a long road to the big leagues, Kintzler’s perseverance has showed that it was well worth the wait.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference